Resolution takeover prompts Pearl cuts

Insurance group Pearl is cutting back its legal function following its £5bn takeover of rival Resolution.

The company is currently undergoing a redundancy consultation with lawyers in its life assurance arm, with the aim of reducing headcount from 13 to seven.

Pearl has also appointed lawyers to head its united legal function, with Pearl’s pre-takeover head of legal Jamie McLeod becoming group general counsel and former Resolution lawyer Fergus Speight being given responsibility for the life assurance business.

Former Resolution general counsel Randal Barker left the company last year. He has since joined listed Kazakh commodities company Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) as general counsel and company secretary.

The job cuts, which are in Speight’s department, come after Pearl announced it was closing its Glasgow office following the merger.

McLeod, who has a single lawyer supporting him, is based in London and oversees group activity, including mergers and acquisitions.

Barker’s deputy Philip Hagan has remained at the company and is based in London.

Pearl’s £5bn hostile takeover of Resolution was one of the largest transactions of 2007.

Merger terms were agreed in November 2007 between the two closed life funds, but regulatory approval was not granted until summer 2008.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advised Pearl on the deal, while Herbert Smith acted for Resolution.